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Using FAMACHA© for Liver Flukes

Researchers investigated the potential of using the FAMACHA© system for targeted selective treatment (TST) of liver flukes. FAMACHA© scores were collected on 288 sheep prior to winter slaughter, when fluke infections were largely mature, and condemned livers were recovered and adult flukes extracted.

Average FAMACHA© score was significantly higher in animals whose livers were condemned (3.6) than in those whose livers were not condemned (2.1). The number of adult flukes recovered ranged from 2 to 485, and was positively correlated with FAMACHA© score ( r2 = 0.54). Packed cell volume (PCV) was correlated negatively with both FAMACHA© score ( r = 0.23) and fluke number (r = 0.24). Nematode fecal egg count (FEC) did not correlate with FAMACHA© score.

FAMACHA© holds promise as a tool for selective treatment of sheep against adult F. hepatica, in support of refugia-based control of fluke and nematode infections, and further field evaluation is warranted.

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